Waterbury, Conn. New evidence Thursday in Alex Jones’ defamation lawsuit revealed how the conspiracy theorist and his website, Infowars, saw revenue surge after telling a particularly nasty lie about the school shooting.
“FBI says no one killed in Sandy Hook massacre” read the headline for a bogus 2014 article on the site. The story, written by InfoWars employee Adan Salazar, claims that the government agency did not count any murders in Connecticut in 2012, the year in which 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.
While this is not true, that didn’t stop Jones from going on his Infowars video program to say that an FBI report showed “no one died in Sandy Hook in 2012. It’s no one in that city.” Doesn’t show murder.”
On September 24, 2014 — the day before InfoWars claimed — the site generated $48,000 in revenue, primarily from selling dietary supplements. When Infowars rolled out the fake Sandy Hook story on Sept. 25, daily revenue rose to $232,000, according to internal Infowars sales data shown in Jones’ trial.
“That’s a 500% increase,” attorney Chris Mattei, who is representing several Sandy Hook families, told the court.
Jones is facing his second defamation lawsuit this year related to the school shooting, which was ordered in August to pay more than $45 million he defamed two Sandy Hook parents . Jones also lost several cases last year after failing to provide court-ordered documents. A jury will now decide how much it will have to pay along with Connecticut families, as well as an FBI agent who responded to the shooting and testified in tears in court on Tuesday.
When Infowars released the false FBI story on September 25, 2014, Jones claimed on his program that the Sandy Hook schoolboys were actors. She was accompanied by Wolfgang Halbig on the show, an extremist who still claims the shooting was staged.
From January 2012 to June 2019 – a period in which thousands of articles were published on Infowars – the second most popular was Salazar’s Sandy Hook story. Citing internal Infowars data, Mattei told the court on Tuesday that nearly three million people directly accessed the article.
Jones, who has notably been absent from the courtroom until now, is expected to testify at some point in the trial, which is expected to last about a month.